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Honeysuckle Aphids

The worst pest of honeysuckle

By: Sandy Feather 2007
Penn State Extension


Q. My Goldflame Honeysuckle was just covered with aphids last summer. I used several different insecticide sprays and finally seemed to get them under control. The aphids are back with a vengeance this summer, and I was wondering if there is anything I can spray the honeysuckle with next year that will last all season. These are such beautiful and carefree plants, but these aphids are a real challenge!

A. Honeysuckle aphids (Hyadaphis tartaricae) are the most troublesome pests of ornamental honeysuckle vines (Lonicera spp.). Their feeding spoils the flowers, and the toxin they inject causes the characteristic curling of the leaves. Honeysuckle aphids have several generations a year, so repeat applications of an insecticide are usually required. Try a couple of tactics to get them under control:

In late spring before the plants leaf out, apply horticultural oil.


How Dormant Oil Works

The oil will suffocate many of the eggs and reduce the population of overwintering aphids. This is NOT dormant oil. Horticultural oil is more refined and less injurious to sensitive plant tissues.

Honeysuckle vine
Honeysuckle vine


 


Bayer Advanced Tree & Shrub Insect Control ( * imidacloprid or Merit insecticide ) is labeled to control honeysuckle aphids. This systemic product is applied with a watering can around the base of the vine as a soil drench. It should provide season-long control. Apply it in mid- to late March.

* READER COMMENT

June 6, 2011 - I was surprised to see your choice of aphid control in "Sandy's Garden".  Using a systemic insecticide on honeysuckle vines is like serving poison to all the hummingbirds and butterflies that are attracted to it. Hosing them down regularly with a fairly strong jet of water, or using a few drops of soap in a sprayer is a much more responsible, kind solution.  Lynn

Sandy's reply: "She's right. When I wrote that column, imidacloprid was not recognized as the problem that we know it is today."

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